MadFriars' Interview: Kyle Gaedele

Gaedele has struggled in AA

SAN ANTONIO, TX - On August 19,1951, the St. Louis Browns in the midst of another dismal season in which they would lose over 100 games sent the great-uncle of current Padres' farmhand Kyle Gaedele to the plate as a pinch-hitter.

The unusual aspect of the situation, particularly when considering that Kyle is six-foot-three 220 lbs., is that his uncle Eddie was only three-foot-seven and is still the only man of that size ever to appear in a major league game.

The event was stunt by the Brown's maverick owner Bill Veeck who was desperate to do anything to increase the team's attendance. The team drew a grand total of 293,790 fans for the season before relocating to Baltimore to become the Orioles in 1953.

Kyle was drafted by the Padres in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of Valparaiso University. Gaedele was the highest drafted player ever out of his university and had a three year collegiate career totals of .326/.418/.522. He was considered one of the more "toolsy" prospects that the Padres took in that draft - run, throw, field, hit and hit for power - along with being one of the better athletes the team selected.

Last season was his best year in the organization where he hit .256/.330/.440 for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm and nearly was in double digits in doubles (26), triples (9) and home runs 13) to go along with 27 stolen bases in 34 attempts.

This year after getting off to a good start, Kyle has struggled with injuries and playing time for the AA San Antonio Missions. We caught up with him in late April to talk about his career with the Padres' organization.

I've always been impressed that you are able to play all three outfield positions. Which one is your favorite?

Kyle Gaedele: Honestly, I enjoy playing all three positions. There are really not many guys that can do it so I think being able to do it is pretty valuable. If someone needs a day off or an injury happens then I can step in.

Usually guys who say they can play all three are also the ones that always prefer to be in center.

Kyle Gaedele: I would say that center is the easiest because you have the most space to work with. But I've played left and right my whole life too.

When we talk to the Padres about you they talk about your athleticsm. How many sports did you play in high school?

Kyle Gaedele: I played football, basketball and of course, baseball.

Did you have a chance to do anything in those sports beyond high school?

Kyle Gaedele: Maybe in basketball as a point guard. I had a few offers but everyone knew I was a baseball player and that was what I wanted to do.

Valparaiso is not the biggest conference. How much of an adjustment was it for you moving to pro ball with the better competition and the wooden bats?

Kyle Gaedele: It's definitely an adjustment with the competition but at the end of the day it's all the same as I see it. The ball has to cross over the plate and it doesn't matter who is out there. It's just about getting better and progressing.

That is a big reason why I love playing for Richie [Dauer, the manager of the Missions]. He always says it's not about winning it's about doing something everyday to get better.

The Padres this year have really been emphasizing putting the ball in play and trying to cut down on strikeouts up and down the organization. Has that affected your game too?

Kyle Gaedele: Oh yeah. We had a meeting the other day and they let us know that there were too many strikeouts. That kind of changed our focus to get us to shorten our swings in certain counts.

There are so many games and it seems like at this level all of you guys have the ability to play in the major leagues, the separator is how consistent you can be. What do you do to improve your consistency?

Kyle Gaedele: Just working with the coaches. The biggest thing is the mental part and being able to come back with the same approach that you know will succeed.

You have to put in place a routine, or a way to practice, and be confident that if you stick to it, results are going to follow. It's about quality work over quantity work.

What is the biggest thing that goes wrong with your swing when you are in a slump?

Kyle Gaedele: Just the inconsistency of getting ready to hit. Where my body is in the box or the position of my hands. If I am off with my mechanics I can get too long, but that is what the cage is for and BP.

Once you get into a game you have to compete.

How do you balance between trusting what you do and your process with making adjustments?

Kyle Gaedele: It's difficult. Once you start changing things based on a few at-bats that is where things can go wrong. Because if you are thinking in there when someone is throwing over 90 the ball is just going to go right by you.

If you are going to make adjustments it has to be in the cage or during BP and their has to be a process about it so you can take it into games.

Last year you came really close to having double digits in doubles, triples and home runs to go along with 27 stolen bases. Do you see yourself as that type of player?

Kyle Gaedele: My goal is to always try to be as complete a player as I can. Play all three outfield positions and help my team anyway I can at the plate or on base.

Last year you had some really big swings month to month. And I think the interesting thing about those numbers is that we are talking about a month which is usually over 25 games for you where you are hitting the ball really well and others where you are not. What is interesting to me is 25 games is not just a good day or maybe two. It's four weeks. How does that happen?

Kyle Gaedele: That is the big difference between the major leaguers and the minor leaguers. Everyone is going to get slumps but they know how to cut it down to three or four games as opposed to us where it can go on for more than a week.

That is why we are here and what we are trying to figure out. Everyone strives for consistency and it just comes from waking up everyday and trying to get better.

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